Waco shelter future leaves employees’ job outlook unclear

Meagan Downing | Lariat Photographer A kitten sits in a bucket at the Humane Society of Central Texas on Tuesday. The many animals up for adoption may be put down after the city of Waco takes full ownership.
Meagan Downing | Lariat Photographer
A kitten sits in a bucket at the Humane Society of Central Texas on Tuesday. The many animals up for adoption may be put down after the city of Waco takes full ownership.

By Maegan Rocio
Staff writer

The animals at the Humane Society of Central Texas won’t be the only ones affected by the change in management.

Current employees will become unemployed after the city of Waco takes full ownership of the humane society. The Interim director of the humane society, Don Bland, said that current employees are aware of the transition in administration.

“They made the announcement on Friday that they weren’t going to renew our contract,” he said. “The city wanted to make the announcement so they could come in and start studying things and give the employees and the public a forewarning, and they’ve been on site for the last two days determining what it takes to run the shelter.”

Bland said if the current workers do become employed by the city, they will receive the usual benefits the city offers to its employees.

Woodway resident Elizabeth Walker, who has worked at the Humane Society of Central Texas for two years, said that she feels torn about the change in ownership.

“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” she said. “While I hope everything is going to work out, I don’t really know. It’s kinda hard to say at the moment.”

Kimi S[neerineer, a Woodway resident who is also a worker, said that she hasn’t worked at the humane society for very long.

“I was a vet tech at a veterinary hospital before this and I’ve been here for six weeks now,” she said.

Sneerineer said she was excited to be hired by the humane society so she could aid in its improvement.

“The history of the shelter has been really rocky,” she said. “There were issues with sanitation and animal health care. Everything was really improving. I was really, really hopeful that things were moving forward, and we also had a goal of creating a no kill atmosphere at the humane society eventually.”

Sneerineer said the employees were shocked and heartbroken.

“I have several job opportunities available for me, but for the others, some have been here for 10, 20, and there’s one who has been here for 27 years,” she said. “This is all she’s ever done as a career.”

After the announcement was made public to the city and the humane society employees, Walker said she and the other workers began trying to get as many dogs out of the shelter as they could before the city takes over.

Walker said that she is considering applying for a job at the new facility after the city takes over.

“I’m going to see what the humane society and the city have to offer as far as jobs go,” she said. “I’m going to see what benefits me with either organization. It’s hard to say without having a plan.”

Walker said she and the other employees at the humane society were like family.

“We make sure everything runs smoothly,” she said. “Everyone here is passionate about animals, so we all get along very well.”

Sneerineer, however, said she will not apply for a job for the new facility when the time comes. She said she is concerned about the terms of the new shelter.

“I will not be applying for a job for the city because the city is only opening the shelter for intake and reclaim,” she said.

“They will not be doing adoption out of the shelter. Every animal, after 72 hours of holding, will be subject to euthanasia. And my goal for working with animals is to assist with animal welfare. If I work for the city, I don’t feel that I’ll have the opportunity for the employees to adopt the animals out.”

The “city of Waco, Texas: please don’t kill hundreds of dogs and cats to clear animal shelter” petition on change.Org is a chance for citizens to request action to prevent the shelter becoming a closed-kill facility by calling for at least 5000 signatures. As of Wednesday, the petition has 263 signatures.

Anyone interested in signing the petition can visit: http://www.Change.Org/petitions/city-of-waco-texas-please-don-t-kill-hundreds-of-dogs-and-cats-to-clear-animal-shelter.